There is a reason that men over 40 who excel in the squared circle are still the exception, not the norm. The body is only capable of going so many miles, no matter the superb supplements available, despite the advances made in strength and conditioning techniques. Glen Johnson, at age 42, showed that his body, while still functioning at an impressive level, no longer is capable of really hanging in with true world class fighters, like Lucian Bute.
Bute was in command from the get go in the main event at the Pepsi Center in Quebec on Saturday night, as his foe Johnson didn’t have the snap or pep to worry Bute more than a smidge. The judges cemented what everyone who watched knew, scoring the bout 119-109, 120-108, 120-108, for Bute.
It wasn’t as bad as many feared, a sparring match between two men who’d grown fond of each other, which kept them from truly trying to take each others’ head off. But it was pretty close to that, to be frank. If and when I’m buying fights for these cable behemoths, I won’t buy fights pitting pal vs pal.
Bute was the busier man, going 306-678 to 128-572 for Johnson.
The IBF super middleweight champion Bute (age 31; born in Romania, lives in Quebec; 29-0 with 24 KOs) weighed 167.4 pound, while Johnson (age 42; from Jamaica, living in Miami; 51-15-2 with 35 KOs) was 166 1/2.
The men had sparred about 90 rounds in 2009, when Johnson was getting ready to meet Chad Dawson and Bute with Librado Andrade. Bute said it was pretty even.
In the first, the men took their time and got loose. A left from Bute pushed Johnson back a step and the crowd hollered near the end of the round.
In the second, Johnson, never a fast starter, wasn’t that busy. In the third, one had to hope they’d stop fighting like pals. Johnson threw lead rights but most didn’t land. There were some boos heard after the round, which was no barnburner. In the fourth, we saw more of the same. In the fifth, Bute closed the distance and got more aggressive. In the sixth, Bute landed some nice right hooks, blocked well and won another round.
In the seventh, Bute landed three lead lefts with a minute left. His right hook landed whenever the threw it. Johnson scored with some counter rights while on the ropes, but Bute turned up the heat to close the round. Some smelled potential stoppage in the air.
In the eighth, Bute was right up in Johnson’s face. He had no fear of return fire or that the old man would be able to blitz him. Bute showed some nice body work, by the way, he wasn’t just head hunting. In the ninth, Johnson nailed Bute with a left, but then paid for it. A left uppercut from Bute tagged Johnson but good. He landed a straight left at the bell, as well.
In round 10, Johnson was still wingin’ it, even if his launches weren’t speed demons. He landed a couple left hooks, but Bute shrugged it off, without a blink. Props to Johnson, he defended well, and didn’t succumb to Bute’s pressure. In round 11, Bute put more distance between he and Johnson early in the round. He got close late, just to make sure he won the round. In the 12th, Johnson kept jabbing, kept hurling God bless him. But we heard the final bell and we’d go to the judges.